All Dreamliner Operators Back in the Air, Boeing Starts Final Assembly of First 787-9

By Paul Riegler on 2 June 2013
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ANA's Dreamliner in Seattle for launch flight in 2012

ANA’s Dreamliner in Seattle for launch flight in 2012

June 1 was a particularly good day, if you were an airline that has a fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  Four airlines, namely All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, and LOT Polish Airlines, put their Dreamliners back into service that day.

Saturday also marked the first Dreamliner flights into and out of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, courtesy of LOT.

The four other Dreamliner operators, Ethiopian Airlines, Air India, Qatar Airways, and United Airlines began operating their Dreamliners on April 27, May 15, May 16, and May 20, respectively.

The Dreamliner was grounded on January 16, 2013 by the Federal Aviation Administration, a move that only impacted aircraft operated by the plane’s sole U.S. operator, United Airlines.  The FAA action came after two fires caused by the plane’s lithium-ion batteries took place on two separate aircraft.  Regulators around the world followed suit and the entire fleet of 50 787s in the hands of airlines was grounded as were any aircraft Boeing had manufactured but not yet delivered.

Two additional airlines have taken delivery of new Dreamliners and are set to begin service.  China Southern Airlines will put its first 787 into service on June 6, and Thomson Airlines will start flying the Dreamliner on July 8.

On Sunday, Boeing said that it had begun final assembly of the first 787-9 Dreamliner, a longer version of the current 787-8.  The 787-9’s fuselage is stretched by 20 feet (six meters) and can carry 40 more passengers.  It is capable of flying 300 nautical miles further than the 787-8 while using 20% less fuel compared to the other similarly-sized aircraft.

Final assembly began on May 30 in Everett, Washington, a process that entails joining large sections of the airplane together.  Boeing is building the first three 787-9s on its Temporary Surge Line in Everett while it ramps up production of the 787-8.

The Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 has the same features as the 787-8, including larger windows with electro chromic dimming, bigger overhead bins, LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, and cleaner air.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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